Spring Renewal with the Yamas & Niyamas of Yoga
So, you might be wondering, what are the yamas and niyamas?
The yamas and niyamas are part of the eightfold path of yoga in The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali.
Centuries ago, the sage Patanjali laid out a kind of map – one that suggests not just asana and meditation but also attitudes and behaviors – to help guide you on your yogic or life path.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, written in sanskrit with multiple interpretations, may seem esoteric and impenetrable but the ancient manual contains essential advice for daily living.
The eightfold path of classical yoga suggests a program of ethical restraints or abstentions (yamas), lifestyle observances (niyamas), postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (prahtyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption into the Divine (samadhi).
The five yamas and five niyamas are the first two steps of the path. These are the ethical precepts, or core values, of yoga as well as its starting place – meant to be practiced before you do your very first Sun Salutation.
“The yamas are really about restraining behaviors that are motivated by grasping, aversion, hatred, and delusion; the niyamas are designed to create well-being for ourselves and others,” says Stephen Cope, a senior Kripalu teacher and the author of The Wisdom of Yoga.
People sometimes think of them as yogi’s Ten Commandments, but they aren’t concerned with right or wrong in an absolute sense. “There’s no thought of heaven or hell. It’s about avoiding behaviors that produce suffering and difficulty, and embracing those that lead to states of happiness.”
Rather than thinking of the yamas and niyamas as a mandatory “to-do list,” view them as invitations to act in ways that promote inner and outer peace.
They also provide a mirror in which to study your practice and your Self.
Viniyoga teacher and Yoga Sutra scholar Gary Kraftsow says they represent the qualities of an integrated human being.
You get there through practice, contemplation, meditation, and working to transform yourself.
“The path of practice begins with understanding and refining the different dimensions of who you are, and it unfolds progressively, not all at once,” says Kraftsow. “The whole goal of yoga is Self-realization, which can also be called freedom.”
The yamas and niyamas give you infinite opportunities to truly transform your life.
And what better time than now to begin that transformation?
Seasonally Spring is a time of rejuvenation, a time of regeneration, and a time of rebirth, of living from & following your heart.
Spring is also a time to plant new intentions, and nurture their growth.
With the guidelines or observances of the Yamas & Niyamas, you will practice sowing the seeds of, and living from, love.
“The Yamas and Niyamas would not be needed if we—the entire human race—did not already have the propensity to violate them.
Paradoxically, the Yamas and Niyamas would not be possible to uphold if our true essence were not love, if love were not our aim and our home.
To practice them we must find the maturity to tolerate the duality of our nature, while allowing the possibility of victory over our darkness. Love is not a thought, it is an action. And each loving action that we take infuses us with more energy for loving action in the future.” Rolf Gates
In Spring Renewal with the Yamas & Niyamas, you'll follow a step by step roadmap to put love into action, both in your practices of self care, and in the world.
Each time we actually practice—not just think about—the Yamas and Niyamas, this is what we’re doing: Putting love into action.
And what better time than right now to put love into action, to cultivate and commit to self care and social transformation, to embody both?
We'll take a deep dive into each yama and niyama, so that you can truly embody each practice, and make it your own with weekly
- journal prompts
- full body relaxations (yoga nidra)
- midday pauses
- yoga classes
I invite you to join me in Spring Renewal with the Yamas & Niyamas from May 3rd to August 29th, to promote inner and outer peace, sow the seeds of love, and be the change you want to see.
Be sure to sign up by midnight of May 2nd to receive access to this special offering.
Just click on the button below to make a one time investment (best value & biggest savings), of $697!
Or sign up for a monthly payment plan of $197 a month for four months here.
You also have lifetime access to Spring Renewal with the Yamas & Niyamas!, my newest online offering, so that no matter what the season, you can connect to inner peace, promote outer peace, sow the seeds of love, and be the change you want to see.
I hope to practice with you soon.